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Whole house video on a budget

3783 Views 22 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Raistlin_HT

I had posted in the Audio section for a whole home audio system and came up with a great solution for a good price from htd.com

I am looking for a similar budget solution for video -- unfortunately the drywall is going up quicker than I imagined and running out of time to put it all into space.

I have a mixture of RG-6 and a couple extra cat6 going to rooms around the house -- would prefer at this point to use the RG-6 -- all of these cables come back to a central location in the basement that will house cable tv, satelite tv and media server.

Can anyone recommend current solutions on the market that would fit the bill?

Your help is greatly appreciated!!

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Continued doing some research and it looks like a Video Matrix Switcher is what I will need to do the job, can anyone confirm this, and perhaps recommend one that is reasonably priced?

I only need to send Cable TV to the basement in two rooms (RG6) -- but I want to send Cable TV, Satellite, Media Server to 3 rooms upstairs (RG6 but can use some additional Cat6 I have already ran for Ethernet)


I should also mention that it would be best to have the ability to use each source independently .. so I can control different channels upstairs/basement rooms separately... I hope that I am articulating this correctly!?
Home-run at least two addition CAT-6 cables to each location. That will allow you to route HD baseband video with baluns, if you want to, in addition to the RF signals through the RG6.
I am doing the same thing. Here is the video matrix switch I recommend. It is very inexpensive but very powerful:


This will give you ultimate flexibility. You can expand more video / audio sources.

It is also controllable (via IR or RS232). Think Crestron, AMX, or any DIY controller.

At MSRP of 3k, nothing comes close to this quality for this number of zones. Plus it has 14 digital audio matrix switch! This will allow for a future whole house audio solution very easily, and it will support multiple surround sound zones (which no competing product can do!)

BTW, HTD does not support multiple surround audio zones. All the whole house audio solutions I have seen support one surround sound max per house. Of course there are some super expensive solutions such as Crestron, but these would easily cost 5x the price of what I am proposing.
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Thanks for the replies!

So, I was looking at the CMX44 http://www.video-storm.com/proddetail.asp?prod=CMX44 -- The basement is being rented so I only want to output basic CATV signal which I can do with a splitter.

I do not quite understand how I am going to get this all connected up if I am running a single RG6 to each output location? (would prefer to use RG6 vs cat6 at this -- although I will run the cable for future proofing and when the budget can afford it

For the CMX44, do I have to run each composite cable independently to the output device (so 3 RG6 to each output device I guess?) .. or do these signals run over a single RG6?

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for the cmx44 you would run normal long distance component cables. Check monoprice.com for low prices on these cables.

If you prefer to use rg6 cable, then check out this BOCS solution instead of the cmx44 http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1080436
The more I read into all these different products that are available, I think I may have made a big mistake running all this speaker wire for the whole house audio system .. I've ran 4 wire (2x 14-2) to each location where I would put a volume control and 1 set of 14-2 to each speaker (when I get them) -- I also ran a cat 6 to each location -- for future keypad --

but now there seem to be systems that can do both video and audio and they've already finished 2 of the rooms so I'm trying to think how I could save this all to make it into an a/v system -- I'm worried that I can tie all what I have ran currently into an integrated system --

The Bocsco xtender looks like you can not control each source independently from different output devices?

Anyone know about the Speakercraft Nirv? For what I have read it can handle whole a/v via a single cat6 vs having two runs
It is easy to get confused. The sheer number of choices available to home owners is mind boggling. I am sure you can get things sorted out before the drywall goes up. You are still lucky, my whole project is being done long after the drywall is finished. As long as your basement is unfinished it is easy to fish wires.

The way I am doing mine is this...

-=All AV and controller equipment will be installed in centralized basement location in racks. Consists of: =-

* 3 Dish Network DVR receivers (connects to inputs on cmx44)

* 1 Bluray player (connects to inputs on cmx44)

* 1 CMX44 16x16 component video/digital audio matrix switch (controlled by crestron via rs232)

* 14 Onkyo mid-fi Surround receiver amps (each of these connect to the digital output on the cmx44)(the speaker wire terminates to these Onkyos)

* 1 crestron processor master controller (the brains to control everything)

* 1 infrared controller device

* etc

-=whole house devices and wiring=-

* 16 video cameras home run cat5 to the centralized basement location

* 60 monoprice inwall speakers home run 14 gauge speaker wire to centralized basement location (these connect to the 14 onkyo receiver amps)

* 14 in wall controllers home run wire to centralized basement location (these communicate with the Crestron brain, which in turn talks to the video matrix switch, onkyo receiver amps, etc)

* 9 consumer grade TVs home run component video cable to centralized basement location

* 9 infrared control wire home run to centralized basement location
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wow thats a lot of nice a/v going on

It is absolutely mind boggling with the amount of options !!

so if I were to go with running 2 cat6 runs for each area and using baluns, I could get what I need for the display (and display audio) side of things using the cmx44

as I mentioned previously, I have already put in speaker wire in place for impedance volume controls in 3 areas, the bathroom, bedroom and patio

how do I tie this all in to have audio? -- still get the HTD solution, or am I putting in too much and can do all of the jobs with something else (a modular unit)?
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so I am going to run the extra cat6 cable to each current RG6 area (I have so much additional cat6 that I can use up). For now I will use the existing single RG6 for video in most areas.

When the budget can afford it, I will look to buy the baluns and the video matrix switch. Does anyone recommend a video matrix switch that has the RJ45 natively?

I was looking at this one by Atlona that has HDMI

Also, a question I have is where to get reasonably priced, but good quality baluns .. and which type of balun is best (component vs hdmi?)
I am currently using these: http://www.firefold.com/HDMI-Wallpla...les-P3527.aspx

I ran two cat5 cables to each tv location, then ran them all to a central location, there I have an HDMI splitter, so I feed HDMI from my single HD cable box into the splitter, and then feeds HDMI to each tv in my house.

I went on the cheap, for now but will eventually upgrade to an HDMI matrix switch.

So basically if you just run two runs of cat5/6 to each tv location, back to your homerun/closet you'll be set to send HDMI video/audio to each tv location.

then use the RG6 for SD cable, or antenna for the tv's

- Josh
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These look cool, and I only need 3 rooms with TV so that seems to be a very affordable solution, and then as you mentioned, upgrade to a matrix switch later. So I can pretty much get what I need with ~$450 + the cost of the HDMI splitter.

With the HDMI splitter, will these allow independent control for each of the 3 areas? (so I can watch one channel in the bedroom and simultaneously watch another channel in the living room - I know this is a function of a splitter but just want to be sure as I am still a noob to this stuff)

Which HDMI splitter are you using? any recommendations?

The splitter I use will not allow what you want. Since I am only sharing a single source (in my case my comcast HD DVR) and feeding it to two different displays.

I am using this HDMI splitter: http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

single source, splits it two ways.

They also have a 2 x 6 splitter that works with cat5: http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

I've been eying that up for a while now, just to test out and see what it can do.

They do have a 4x4 matrix switch: http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

also if you plan on doing the "watch one channel in one room, and another channel in another room" you are going to need as many sat or cable boxes as you have for each tv, so if that every single tv in the house were being used all at the same time each tv would need its own box so that is three sources (2 STB's) then if you wanted to share a blu ray player that is another source, then say you wanted a media streamer, again another source.

Things add up quickly.

Then you have the whole controlling everything issue. You can either do IR repeater system, or you can do a automation controller system.

- Josh
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Also Monoprice sells hdmi over cat5/6 wall plates: http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

only down side to these is they are non-powered (unlike the ones I linked above) I haven't personally tested these, some say they work great, while others have issues with them because the equipment they use are too low powered (these wall plates pull power off of the cable box you use with them)

- Josh
I see what you mean about having to have multiple stb's to watch independently, as we've said earlier on in this thread -- it is daunting and confusing trying to learn and plan this for the first time! -- sometimes you convince yourself that these tools do something that they really don't! I guess the real worry is wiring the house, drywalling and finishing -- and then you've forgot to cable run a major component and it all goes pear shaped :|

I would like to thank you all for helping me, as I would really like to put this together by myself -- with the help of this community, rather than hiring someone to do it, which isn't in the budget either

I like that 4x4 HDMI matrix for the price! I don't quite get why the Atlona is so expensive in comparison when it looks like it is doing the same job, except for the inclusive IR blaster -- well I guess it also looks like they include the Baluns so I guess its not all that bad..
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Here is a component matrix switch that works for around $166 http://www.amazon.com/Component-Matr...8749598&sr=8-1

And i would stay away from HDMI over Cat5/6, still can be very buggy. Component over Cat5/6 has pretty much proven itself, fewer issues and only one Cat5/6 cable needed to run the video.

I use the above Matrix switch in conjunction with Intelix Component video baluns and run the sound through my HTD whole house audio system. I control the matrix switch through the HTD wall control units IR sensor. I have a HD DirectTV DVR and an HD Tivo for OTA in a room in my basement where the matrix switch is located, the video and sound head out from there to 3 sepearate locations in the house. Pretty bullet proof setup.

no matter what, you are unfortunately going to spend money when you want a centralized system like this. specially when you want multiple locations, and HD to each location.

How I did multi room video, is with a media center pc, and media center extenders at each tv, I then am using the HDMI blauns and splitter to share the comcast HD DVR when I want premium HD content, kind of get best of both worlds that way.

the most expensive peice of it all was actually the IR blaster/repeater system, http://www.smarthome.com/8120R10/Xan...10KITRP/p.aspx something like that, then you'll need IR receivers to plug into that. So each room in the house (or tv location) will need the IR receivers. http://www.smarthome.com/8132/Xantec...-780-10/p.aspx or http://www.smarthome.com/8130BR/Xant...-490-00/p.aspx

so like I said, each little piece adds up quickly. You think you are saving $$$$ by doing it yourself but then you have to live with an extremely complicated setup.

in my case I simplified it by getting logitech harmony remotes and programmed them for each zone (in my case my living room and bedroom, and media/home theater room) so say when i am in my bedroom, I have the harmony turn my tv on, set it to HDMI input #2, then it'll send the cable box ON command that the IR repeater system pics up, and so then I am then now watching cable tv on my bedroom tv, from the cable box in my basement.

with a matrix switcher you will want to have something like: Turn tv on, set tv to hdmi input, set matrix switch to source #4, output #2, or something like that, and all while making sure it works with an IR repeater system.

There are tons of little ins and outs you need to look at, and not just the end goal.

- Josh
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Originally Posted by localnet /forum/post/16899281

And i would stay away from HDMI over Cat5/6, still can be very buggy. Component over Cat5/6 has pretty much proven itself, fewer issues and only one Cat5/6 cable needed to run the video.

not sure where you've heard that. I've had nothing but great success with the hdmi blauns (powered ones) that I linked to above.

The cheap, non-powered ones like the monoprice ones, yes have issues if A.) your cable box or whatever HDMI device you feed it, doesn't supply enough power, or B.) you extend the distance past what is supported.

but for the ones I am using I have had nothing but great success with them, they work flawlessly for me.

- Josh
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although I was first planning component -- I will be going with HDMI and the powered cat6 to HDMI baluns, I've already run the extra cat6, and like the convenience of a single connection .. I've done some reading on the stability, and it does appear to be a bit if a mixed bag, but I'm taking the risk.

Would a wall plate like this cause any issues with quality loss? -- thinking no, but just asking

I want to have my DVD player (that has built in receiver out to 5.1 speakers) still in my living room so I can change DVD's at will -- so it will theoretically be Matrix Switch > cat6/HDMI balun > Reciever > HDMI > LCD HDTV

Are there any recommendations on HDMI matrix switches that have native cat6 (RJ45) output? (like the Atlona -- but cheaper
with >3 HDMI inputs ( this one only has 1 RJ45 and one HDMI)

I can't believe how much cheaper the HDMI cables are on monoprice vs. home depot -- can the quality be that different? (RCA 6ft $40 -- MP 6ft
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Originally Posted by limester /forum/post/16899974

Would a wall plate like this cause any issues with quality loss? -- thinking no, but just asking

almost everything networking and wall plate wise I used monoprice, just can't beat their prices and I did a bulk order from them and got a better shipping rate when I did that.

I can't recall if that is the exact wall plate I used for my projector or not, but I am using a 40 foot hdmi cable (from monoprice) as well as two HDMI plates on each end, and then short 1.5 foot hdmi jumpers from the wall plates one to the projector and one to the monoprice hdmi switch. The entire setup works great, no issues here.

Are there any recommendations on HDMI matrix switches that have native cat6 (RJ45) output? (like the Atlona -- but cheaper
with >3 HDMI inputs ( this one only has 1 RJ45 and one HDMI)

I did link that one above from monoprice, I just have never used it, and don't know what is all involved with it. Me personally I would rather have them separate, so that each wall plate is powered individually.

just more to go wrong with them all in one box.

I can't believe how much cheaper the HDMI cables are on monoprice vs. home depot -- can the quality be that different? (RCA 6ft $40 -- MP 6ft

digital is digital. The only diff is any brick and mortar store has to make a huge proffit, cables are the easiest way to do that. Why do you think best buy pushes monster cables so much?

ALL my hdmi, speaker, component, ect... cables in my house are mono price, I have had absolutely zero issues with any of them.

- Josh
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